Step 6. Making Remote Work Productive
Remote work may be a company policy by choice or necessity, but it can become a competitive advantage for a team. The trick is to leverage benefits (like flexible working schedules or work-life balance) and overcome challenges (such as miscommunication, distractions, or lack of human interaction).
Here are some best practices to help you make remote work more productive.
1. Keep in touch
Schedule regular syncs
When working remotely, it’s harder to receive feedback and feel connected. Make sure everyone feels included in the everyday life and work of the group.
Depending on your team’s type of work and habits, run regular, short syncs:
- Short daily “stand-ups” (in Slack, Zoom, or in Wrike comment fields) to share highlights and roadblocks
- Longer weekly meetings where you discuss weekly results and share plans for the next week
- Monthly cross-department meetings to keep all stakeholders in the loop
Uplevel virtual meetings
Moving from face-to-face meetings to online conferencing may require some effort. Our main tips here are:
- Cameras on! Video adds human touch to online meetings. You can use tools like Zoom or Skype.
- Bring everyone into the discussion by asking for each team member’s opinion. Although it’s a good idea to mute all attendees by default for larger meetings, make sure no one’s kept muted or left out during the entire meeting. Use built-in capabilities of online conference tools like “raise your hand” or “Q&A box” and teach your team about these possibilities.
- Respect schedules and time differences. Check attendees’ online calendars or send them messages if needed to ask about their availability. When in doubt about time differences, use time zone converters.
- Share a meeting agenda in advance, keep track of discussed action items and add the summary of discussed topics and decisions to the Wrike task.
Learn more about organizing meetings in Wrike:
Proactively share and overcommunicate
In a remote team, it’s easier to lose grip of actual workload, work progress, and priorities, so questions like, “Who’s responsible for this task?” or “What's the latest agreement version?” quickly become a part of daily work. That’s why the habit of proactive sharing lays a background for efficient virtual collaboration:
- Update the task status when you start working on it.
- Ask questions in task comments.
- @mention key stakeholders to communicate updates.
- Request a status update if you need to remind someone about a task or ask about work progress.
- Create tasks with clear titles and detailed descriptions.
- Reschedule tasks if needed and explain the reasons in task comments.
Remember that it’s better to overcommunicate than to skip important details.
Learn best practices on organizing work-related communication.
Keep stakeholders in the loop
Keeping in touch with external and internal clients to report updates and discuss issues is essential for remote work success. One tip is to spark your communication with more details that will give your stakeholders a better understanding of the process and not only of the results. For instance, give a brief overview not only on what was achieved, but how, what interesting observations were made, etc. For better visibility, share external links and snapshots as monitoring and feedback tools.
If you need a deeper level of communication with your stakeholders, consider inviting them as collaborators (or external users if necessary) and add them as followers of projects or tasks, so they won’t miss any updates.
2. Well-defined work processes are the backbone for productivity
Explain ground rules
Everyone on the team should clearly understand the ground rules of remote collaborations such as schedule flexibilities, work processes, and performance metrics. Make sure your team knows each other's roles and responsibilities.
Communicating these expectations and sharing best practices on remote collaboration will help your team feel more confident. Make this information easily accessible for your team at any time. For example, create a knowledge base folder in Wrike with tips and tricks for remote work and share it with your team.
Ensure a single source of truth
Make Wrike a central hub for all work-related information. Avoid getting things done via emails and spreadsheets as much as possible:
- Launch all upcoming initiatives as projects in Wrike. Don’t forget to use the six rules of an efficient project launch.
- Keep all the task discussion and latest file versions attached to relevant tasks and projects to avoid losing info in long email threads.
- Create dashboards to monitor work progress.
- Create a report on project statuses, schedule regular report reminders, and share report snapshots with management showing what was accomplished.
Streamline work intake
Avoid receiving requests from multiple channels – they often miss important details and are difficult to track and prioritize. The solution is to set up a simple Wrike request form to structure incoming work. If you’re working with external stakeholders, give them the link to this request.
Learn more about request forms:
- Best practices on streamlining work intake in Wrike
- Interactive course: “403 Requests for Work”
Automate repetitive work
Automate your processes as much as possible to reduce human error and increase work transparency:
- Use project templates or blueprints for launching repeating projects,
- Set up custom workflows to systemize work stages
- Use approvals to have clarity on who approves what and when.
3. Encouraging team spirit
Create a fun zone
Informal communication plays an important role in building team spirit. Replace face-to-face chats with a virtual watercooler where your team members can discuss their personal lives as well as work issues. Here are some ideas for inspiration:
- A dedicated folder in Wrike with book recommendations
- Chat channel in Slack
- Informal Zoom video call
Double down on motivation
Everyone likes being appreciated. Share achievements, even small wins, so everyone feels appreciated and can see how their individual work helps the team succeed.
Non-monetary rewards may come in handy here: Think of sending thank you emails and regularly give praise for good results on company meetings.
In Wrike and other online apps, use emojis in comments and reactions to reinforce your words.
Learn how to set up your remote office, maintain work-life balance, and create a productive daily routine.